The health care systems of low-income countries have severely limited capacity to treat surgical diseases and conditions. There is limited information about which hospital mortality outcomes are suitable metrics in these settings.
We did a 1-year observational cohort study of patient admissions to the Surgery and the Obstetrics and Gynecology departments and of newborns delivered at a Ugandan secondary referral hospital. We examined the proportion of deaths captured by standardized metrics of mortality.
There were 17,015 admissions and 9612 deliveries. A total of 847 deaths were documented: 385 (45.5%) admission deaths and 462 (54.5%) perinatal deaths. Less than one-third of admission deaths occurred during or after an operation (n = 126/385, 32.7%). Trauma and maternal mortality combined with perioperative mortality produced 79.2% (n = 305/385) of admission deaths. Of 462 perinatal deaths, 412 (90.1%) were stillborn, and 50 (10.9%) were early neonatal deaths. The combined metrics of the trauma mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, thirty-day perioperative mortality rate, and perinatal mortality rate captured 89.8% (n = 761/847) of all deaths documented at the hospital.
The combination of perinatal, maternal, trauma, and perioperative mortality metrics captured most deaths documented at a Ugandan referral hospital.
- Question: Which mortality metrics are suitable surgical outcome measures at a Ugandan referral hospital?
- Findings: Perinatal complications, maternal complications, trauma, and gastrointestinal disease were the leading causes of death.
- Meaning: Perinatal, maternal, trauma, and perioperative mortality metrics are suitable measures of care.